Given the recent economic downturn, some companies are skeptical that the pandemic-led transition to remote and hybrid work will hold. According to an April survey by Good Hire, 77% of executives said they would consider firing employees or cutting their pay because they refused to return to the office. Most expressed concern about the perceived lack of focus from remote workers, the negative impact on corporate culture and productivity issues.
Oscar Mattsson takes a different view. That’s not surprising: his startup, Allwhere, sells tools for companies to make remote working easier. Allwhere comes out of stealth today with $9.5 million in seed funding from DESCOvery and aims to partner with businesses to work remotely, manage equipment lifecycle from procurement to disposal, and provide onboarding, engagement, retention and wellness programs to create, Mattson said.
“While the current market is temporary, the new ethos that has emerged regarding flexibility and employee well-being is permanent. Teams have realized they can work just as efficiently with a distributed model, and a strict return-to-office plan often leads to loss of top contributors, even in a recession,” Mattson said.[But] after two years of remote and hybrid working, nearly half of knowledge workers still don’t have the tools they need to do their job. As a result, budgets are lost and employees are stretched, which is why companies outsource these tasks in the first place.”
Mattsson began his career at WeWork, where he co-founded the company’s enterprise division before working with partners to expand WeWork into childcare, food and beverage, mobility and other areas. As he saw WeWork through its lows, Mattsson says he eventually saw the value in services that enable flexible working.
Mattsson founded Allwhere in 2021 within DESCOvery, DE Shaw’s venture studio, where he was joined by WeWork alumni Ben Kessler (chief marketing officer of Allwhere) and Josh Rosenthal (head of customer experience).
“I saw a gap in the market for a solution that met the needs of companies adapting to a new, remote, hybrid and distributed world,” Mattsson said. “Allwhere is an Old English term meaning ‘everywhere’, which aligns with our mission to support employees and employers in every type of workplace.”
Allwhere provides business customers with equipment, products, tools and perks for employees, even going so far as to find vendors and suppliers. In addition to installing and retrieving office hardware, furniture, and accessories, Allwhere offers wellness programs, subscriptions, gifts, IT hardware repairs and upgrades, and more.
With Allwhere, companies can build their own white label “stores” with configurable kits and HR and IT process integrations. Dashboards allow management to monitor equipment distribution, wellness and benefits, as well as budgets and status updates. Meanwhile, when given a link to the above-mentioned store, employees can select the equipment, benefits and services they need and get tracking information as well as pick-up and delivery options for all applicable equipment.
Mattsson says Allwhere has worked with clients looking to onboard new hires with hundreds of laptops for companies buying merch — backpacks, T-shirts and the like — for their first in-person events after the pandemic.
“Specifically, Allwhere offers white glove, personalized service at scale so that internal teams can focus on other tasks,” Mattsson said. “Most companies work with different suppliers for all these different things, so the HR, IT and executive teams we speak with are often relieved to find a solution that does it all.”
Mattsson notes that during the pandemic, companies sought to maximize the value of their IT assets in particular, even at the expense of employee satisfaction. A 2020 study by Nulab found that nearly a third of people working remotely due to the pandemic had to purchase out-of-pocket equipment for work.
The pressure to cut operating costs is mounting as a recession looms.
“Many companies are scaling back budgets, downsizing their teams, and experiencing equipment supply chain issues for the new hires they hire. We solve all those pain points with competitive pricing and efficient retrieval, both of which optimize inventory and trim suppliers,” Mattsson said. “These services are at the heart of our business and benefit our customers, especially in today’s market… theoretically possible to have internal teams take care of equipment management, employee wellbeing and swag, among our other offerings, it is not the most economically sound or effective solution.”
Mattsson claims that New York-based Allwhere currently has clients ranging from startups to enterprises in North America, Latin America and Europe, though he won’t reveal names. The focus in the coming year will be on acquiring and scaling operations and expanding the capabilities of the Allwhere platform, he said.
“In response to demand, Allwhere continues to grow rapidly. We’ve tripled in just a few months and plan to double again by the end of the year,” Mattson added.